January 8, 2014

In late December of last year, a civil suit by the non-profit Save the Dinky (SDKY) group championed by local residents Anne Waldron Neumann, Peter Marks, Rodney Fisk, Walter Neumann, Christopher Hedges, and others, was heard in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Mercer County Chancery Division. 

The lawsuit claimed that Princeton University and New Jersey Transit lacked “the power and authority to move the Princeton branch terminus of the Dinky train,” citing a 1984 contract in which NJ Transit sold the station land and buildings to Princeton University, retaining an easement over the property for public transportation purposes.

Judge Paul Innes dismissed the suit on the grounds that nothing in the 1984 agreement or in a 1996 amendment prohibited the station move. “Princeton University is permitted to propose, and NJ Transit is permitted to approve, a plan to relocate the train station and rail terminus 460 feet south within the Dinky Station property,” stated his December 23 decision.

Although their suit was dismissed, opponents of the Dinky move have been heartened by at least one of Judge Innes’s pronouncements, his statement that approval of any Dinky station move resides with NJ Transit and not Princeton University.

According to Judge Innes, the easement granted to NJ Transit in 1984 means that “NJ Transit has the sole power ‘to expand, reduce, terminate or alter the type of passenger-related services within or serving the station parcel,’ if in its opinion, conditions warrant it. The easement expressly reserves the right of NJ Transit to approve any alterations to the improvements located or constructed in the station property.”

“Judge Innes agreed with our assertion that the 1984 contract did not give the University the right to move the terminus. Instead, he said that that NJ Transit retained the power to approve or not approve plans. Basically, the judge said the buck stops with NJ Transit on the plans to move the Dinky,” said Save the Dinky President Anita Garoniak.

NJ Transit has not objected to the University’s plan to relocate the station. Its representatives have said that the move is within the scope of the 1984 contract.

Save the Dinky, which describes itself as a “rail passenger advocacy group,” claimed in a recent press advisory that “NJ Transit has said again and again that the contract obligated it to agree to the University plan to move the terminus, and the University has said again and again that the contract gave it the ‘right’ to make [the move].” According to Ms. Garoniak, the court ruling is clear. “The judge said that the buck stops with NJ Transit,” she said.

According to Save the Dinky, Judge Innes made it clear that NJ transit did not have to agree to the station move, as it has claimed. Nor did NJ Transit delegate its power to the University.

The aforementioned SDKY press advisory also states that Judge Innes’s ruling was important because “it affirms that the cutback of rail service to Princeton to benefit Princeton University was in fact a decision by New Jersey Transit. “The Judge may not have agreed with the entirety of our position, but he put to rest the pretense that NJ Transit had a contractual obligation to agree to the University’s plan to shorten the Dinky line to facilitate an additional road to a campus parking garage,” said Ms. Garoniak, citing the court’s statement that “Princeton University has no authority to act unilaterally” and “no right to alter the service to the Dinky in any way without the express approval of NJ Transit.”

The SDKY group hopes to make a decision on whether or not to appeal Judge Innes’s decision by the end of this month after consultation with their attorney.

Meanwhile, the group is pursuing another line of offense against the Dinky move. Today, in Trenton, one of their attorneys will present an appeal based on the Dinky Station status as a historic site and as an operating railroad, one of two pending state appellate court challenges by SDKY to the station relocation.

The Princeton Railroad Station on University Place was added to the New Jersey Register of Historic Places in 1984 as an “Operating Passenger Railroad Station.” As such, permission for any change would have been needed from state authorities. Did the Department of Environmental Protection do its job in protecting the historic integrity of the site? This lawsuit is one of several filed by residents opposing the station move as part of the University’s $300 million Arts & Transit project.



With the Graduate College’s Cleveland Tower in the background, the snowy scene of kids and sleds might be taking place in England. In fact, it’s happening on the Springdale Golf Course. See this week’s Town Talk for some first-hand reports. (Photo by Emily Reeves)


January 2, 2014
BOOKS WORTH SHARING: Students at Princeton Charter School (PCS) box up books donated for a project that will culminate on the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Service Day, January 20. The books will be passed along to another school where they will provide mini classroom-libraries for students. The project is a new initiative this year and may become an annual event.(Photo Courtesy of Princeton Charter School)

BOOKS WORTH SHARING: Students at Princeton Charter School (PCS) box up books donated for a project that will culminate on the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Service Day, January 20. The books will be passed along to another school where they will provide mini classroom-libraries for students. The project is a new initiative this year and may become an annual event. (Photo Courtesy of Princeton Charter School)

Princeton Charter School (PCS) starts the New Year with a Day of Service project that will culminate on Martin Luther King Jr. Day later this month. Students, parents, and faculty are “paying it forward” with a unique project that aims to build independent reading libraries for classrooms in need.

Starting the week of January 13, the school will be collecting new and used books from its students. The donated books will be sorted by reading level, labeled by genre, and then packed into boxes for delivery to eligible faculty for use in their classrooms. When opened, the boxes will provide mini classroom libraries and instant access to “kid-read and approved” books.

This unique approach to sharing is the brainchild of PCS English teacher Laurie Ludgin who realized that there was a need for in-classroom libraries while attending a professional development conference offered by The Reading and Writing Project of Teachers College, Columbia University.

During one conference session, recalled Ms. Ludgin, a fellow participant asked Presenter Lucy Calkins, director of The Reading and Writing Project, “What do I do if I don’t have a classroom library?”

Ms. Calkins’s response was simple, bold and to the point. She said: “You change schools. You can’t teach students to read, if you don’t have books in your classroom.” The effect of Ms. Calkins’s words on the PCS teacher was immediate. Ms. Ludgin was inspired to begin the work of getting independent reading libraries into the hands of dedicated teachers so that they can open the world of reading for their students.

“Not every school has a library and this is a way for children to share books that they love with others,” said Ms. Ludgin. “I know from my own classroom that students love to pass along books to younger students. They will often write notes in the front of the book for future readers. This effort is a way to build a community of readers and we are collecting books from pre-K through 6th grade.” According to Ms. Ludgin, now in her fourth year at PCS, favorite authors include Judy Blume (Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret), Mary Pope Osborne (Magic Tree House series), Eric Carle (The Very Hungry Caterpillar), Dan Gutman (My Weird School series) and Patricia MacLachlan (Sarah Plain and Tall).”

“Laurie Ludgin is such an inspiration, a fantastic English teacher and someone who models the ideal qualities one wants in a teacher: commitment to her discipline, compassion for students, and the organizational skills to put a project like this in motion,” commented Assistant Head of School Lisa Eckstrom.

“We hope that [this] will become an annual event and that it will grow and grow,” she said. “We’ll be collecting, sorting, and then donating books for young readers to a school with very few resources. The idea is to sort books by categories and reading level to make it very simple for our sister school to put the books to use.”

“Princeton is such a book loving town and this project says a lot about who we are. It involves a direct teacher to teacher transfer so that nothing is going to get lost or sit in a warehouse. We’re very excited about it,” said Ms. Eckstrom.

The Princeton Charter School is located at 100 Bunn Drive in Princeton. Registration for the entrance lottery ends on Monday, January 6, at noon.

For more information, call (609) 924-0575, or visit: www.princetoncharter.org.


Between Small World Coffee, Rojo’s Roasters, Chez Alice, Infini T, and Starbucks, Princeton has its share of convivial coffee and tea houses. But a café preparing to join the lineup by early next month will add a new dimension to the coffee shop experience, according to its proprietor.

Café Vienna, under construction at the Nassau Street storefront previously occupied by The Piccadilly, is being designed to fill a previously untapped niche. “This will be a totally different experience, a European café,” said Anita Waldenberger, who has spent four years preparing to open the coffee house based on those in her native Austria. “The products we will offer are unique. I want to bring the best quality and consistency to town. That is very important to me.”

Most anyone who has visited Vienna knows about the rich Sacher tortes, marzipan cakes, apple strudels and other authentic Viennese desserts served in the city’s cafés. Those delicacies will be on the menu, Ms. Waldenberger said, and some of them will be lower in calories than customers might expect. “We are very calorie conscious,” she said. “We worked with a pastry chef for more than six months to make lower calorie cakes that are good.”

Also planned are organic teas, breakfast sandwiches, and other items. “We’re still working on the menu,” Ms. Waldenberger said.

The concept of a Viennese café occurred to Ms. Waldenberger after moving to Princeton with her husband in 2004. She had first visited a few years earlier. “I fell in love with the town,” she said. “The coziness, the atmosphere — it reminded me so much of home.”

The idea began to take shape during a visit from her family. “My brother said to me, ‘You need to open a Viennese café in Princeton,” she recalled. “And that has been my goal since then, about four years ago.”

After going to school in Vienna, Ms. Waldenberger worked in a five-star hotel called Warmbad Villach, learning several aspects of the business. She moved to the United States in 1978 to learn English, and decided to stay. Work with a German bank followed before Ms. Waldenberger switched to commercial real estate, which she still practices on a limited basis.

The hotel business has stuck with her. “I always enjoyed helping the guests,” she said. “And I want to bring that level of service to the café.”

Ms. Waldenberger credits the retired professionals at Princeton SCORE, especially Bill Lichtman, with helping her get the business on track. The town was also open to the idea. “I’m very grateful for the opportunity they have given me,” she said. “The idea was very well received.”

Construction on the café began in October. Ms. Waldenberger’s concept is for a modern, yet cozy, interior. At 870 square feet, the café will accommodate seating for 15 inside, and more outside during the warmer months. There will be an exposed brick chimney and mirrors.

Most crucial is the coffee, which will be “world class, served using a state of the art coffee machine,” Ms. Waldenberger said. “It will be totally different from every other coffee in town. I won’t tell you how; that’s our secret.”

Ms. Waldenberger will be the café’s manager. She is anxious to put her experience in the service industry to work. “I know I have something very different,” she said. “I’ll be serving the community and their guests at a higher level, while also appealing to the young in a style that’s modern and hip. This is an international community and I look forward to serving, bringing the uptown and downtown together.”


Want to try your hand at writing a play? A short story? Or learn how to re-upholster that vintage armchair? How about taking a turn on the dance floor — ballroom style? Or if you prefer, get your exercise belly dancing!

What about that yoga class you always wanted to try? Got the travel bug? Try Tough Love Travel for adventurous journeys. Or, rock climbing, ice skating — and whatever your age, it’s never too late to learn to ride a bike!

Watch the birds, hike the trails, learn to cook Italian, plan your retirement, learn to converse in Turkish, enhance your social media skills, discover the intricacies of all those apps, or explore the nuances of film noir.

All of the above — and so much, much more — is available at the Princeton Adult School (PAS), a true treasure of the community, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year.

Idea In Motion

Established in 1939, the school was the result of the efforts of a number of Princeton residents, who wished to offer the community an opportunity for continued learning. In particular, Ruth Schleifer and Laura Peskin whose husbands owned Princeton News Delivery Service, and Mrs. W. R. Brearley, principal of the Nassau Street Elementary School, were instrumental in setting the idea in motion in 1938. After Ms. Schleifer visited the Trenton Adult School, she remarked, “Why don’t we have such a school here? If Mrs. Brearley will do the curriculum, I’ll do the registration.”

Out of that visit and those remarks emerged what was then called the Princeton Leisure Hour School, with a system of registration that involved spreading out index cards on tables in the Schleifer living room.

Support for the school was immediate and widespread, with the Presidents of Princeton University and Princeton Theological Seminary and B. Woodhull Davis, Acting Principal of Princeton’s public schools all enthusiastic supporters.

500 people signed up for the initial 50 courses at $2 per class, the most popular being world politics, followed by ballroom dancing, photography, bridge, and “typewriting”. Other courses included music appreciation, public speaking, sewing, dress making, modern homemaking, craft and metal shop work, English and American literature, poetry, and sketching.

“This was toward the end of the Depression, and in some cases, people were looking for skills that they could use to help them get a job,” points out Nancy Beck, former PAS executive director, current board member, and curriculum coordinator.

Classes were held at Princeton High School, and people of all ages, backgrounds, and races attended. As Anne Brener, PAS current executive director, explains, “The goal of the Adult School was to make its classes available to everyone. As its mission stated from the beginning, it was ‘to offer to the adult residents of the Princeton area — regardless of race, color, creed, place of national origin, or sex — a variety of courses for their benefit and enjoyment.’”

$3 Per Class

This was a time, in 1939, when some public schools in Princeton were segregated, adds Ms. Brener.

Classes were discontinued during World War II, and then in 1948, the school reopened as the Princeton Adult School. The cost of a class had risen to $3, and more courses were added, including jewelry design, furniture repair, family life, languages, great religions of the world, “Behind the Headlines” (A look at the world in 1948; Democratizing Japan; Rebuilding Germany; Tension in the Near East), among others.

Class instructors included Princeton and Rutgers University professors, and other authorities in their fields of expertise.

Over the years, PAS and its classes have continued to increase in popularity. When it turned 50 in 1989, student enrollment had grown six times during the course of the five decades. Now at age 75, PAS, during the 2012-13 fall/spring term, enrolled more than 3500 students in 320 courses, which is seven times the student enrollment and 11 times the course offerings available at the Princeton Leisure Hour School in 1939.

The variety of the course offerings is the result of the dedication of the Adult School staff and board members and the resources of the community, notes Ms. Beck.

Adds Ms. Brener: “We’ve become a family. It’s a part-time office but full-time job keeping on top of everything. Debbie Washington, the business manager, always has a new vision of how to improve what we are doing. With the support of our part-time accountant Jacquie Seelig, we enjoy working as a team and with the board to bring over 200 classes to life.”

40 Members

The board consists of 40 members, and each individual serves on two committees, and helps to set the curriculum. “This is really a hands-on board,” points out curriculum coordinator Nancy Beck, who also focuses on the lecture committee. “We are very busy. The biggest challenge is continuing to find classes that people are interested in and keeping the prices as affordable as possible.”

Involvement in the Princeton community, including the University and public libraries, the Princeton University Art Museum, and the Princeton Symphony, is also a focus of PAS. Classes, lectures, and events are often in conjunction with these organizations.

“For the Adult School’s 75th anniversary, we are holding several ‘Conversations’, each one focused on a different topic of special interest to our audience,” says Ms. Brener. “The intent of these ‘Conversations’ is to have an informal exchange among interesting, thoughtful leaders who will share their insights and experiences with an engaged and informed moderator — and, on these Sunday afternoons, we can be part of the discussion. A reception for all attendees follows each ‘Conversation’.”

Held in the Friend Center (the Computer Science building on the Princeton University campus at the corner of Olden and William Streets), the “Conversations” are open to the public, and tickets are $25 per event.

Two upcoming “Conversations” include “The Ambassadors” on Sunday, February 2 and “Focus on the Arts” on Sunday, March 2, both at 4 p.m. The first will include former U.S. Ambassadors Barbara Bodine, Robert Finn, and Daniel Kurtzer, who will talk with Evan Thomas, award-winning Newsweek editor and author of a recent book on Dwight D. Eisenhower’s presidency.

The second will focus on changes in the arts over the past 75 years, and the participants will discuss the challenges and rewards of maintaining a community commitment to the arts, and speculate about the future. Moderator Michael Cadden, chair of the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton, will be joined by Emily Mann, artistic director of McCarter Theater, William Lockwood, director of special programs at McCarter, James Steward, director of the Princeton University Art Museum, composer Derek Bermel, and Tony award-winning playwright Christopher Durang.

Smart and Innovative

Board member Pam Wakefield, whose speciality is the lecture series, is enthusiastic about the opportunities an Adult School in Princeton can offer. As she points out, “We understand and enjoy the challenge of connecting to this community in just about every conceivable area. In a busy university town like Princeton, people have the chance to be really selective about where and how they spend their spare hours. The Princeton Adult School staff and board members know we have to be smart and innovative about offering ways to fill those hours, and we are. If you want to see behind The New York Times headlines, or master fusion cuisine, or figure out what is bothering your pet, or understand sound investing, the Adult School is there to make that happen.

“Planning the Anne B. Shepard Lecture Series is a pretty amazing process,” continues Ms. Wakefield. “Drawing from Princeton University, Rutgers, and other academic neighbors, each semester, this committee puts together a who’s who in just about any direction they plan to address. On a personal level, about five years ago, I thought I would check out one of our yoga classes. I chose anti-aging, and I am still at it!”

Princeton resident Everett Kline, who has served on the board for five years, is directly involved with members of the community, including chefs and owners of local restaurants and eateries.

“Most of the courses I have developed have been in the area of food and drink — preparing fish with the wonderful chefs of the JM Group, including executive chef Jose Lopez of Nassau Street Seafood and executive chef Edgar ‘pollos’ Urias of Blue Point Grill; cooking the duck and all its parts with Scott Anderson of elements and Mistral; small plates of the Mediterranean with Chris Albrecht of eno terra; ice cream for all seasons with Gaby Carbonne of the Bent Spoon; brewing the perfect cup of coffee with Brant Cosaboom of Small World Coffee; spices with Jon Hauge of the Savory Spice Shop — the list goes on. One of the best parts of this work is experiencing the sense of community shared with our local businesses.”

Both Roles

Many of the board members not only help create the classes, they also become students. Princeton resident and board member, Ingrid Reed has enjoyed both roles. “I am both an admirer of the Adult School and a ‘customer’ at the same time that I am a board member. We create what is so amazing about the school — its diverse programs across many areas. Lectures and discussions, languages, arts and crafts, cooking, practical courses such as finance and exercise, and maybe most important, our many English as a Second Language courses.

“I first met the Adult School, when as a bride, I came to Princeton 50 years ago, and found the courses at the School — literature with Professor Sonnenfeld and bridge — to be a marvelous way to interact with others, and open my mind to books I had not read in college.

“Subsequently, I dipped into some other courses, but basically I simply was in awe of the brochure that I received every fall and spring that offered the opportunity for life-long learning in more than 200 courses,” continues Ms. Reed. “I joined the board more than 10 years ago, and have participated in developing the lecture programs, since working at Princeton University and Rutgers Eagleton Institute of Politics has connected me with faculty members who have taught in the Adult School. And I am pleased to be the liaison with the Princeton Symphony for the course based on the symphony’s current season offered by the Adult School.

“The energy and creativity of the active board members is a learning experience in itself, and I marvel to think that for 75 years, this community-based institution has responded to the needs and interests of the times, and remained faithful to the core mission of serving adult learners in practical and pleasurable ways.”

Princeton resident Shirley Satterfield has served on the board since 1990, specializing in the areas of creative arts, personal enrichment, and personal finance. She has also been a student in many of the classes, and her interests are widespread and varied — to say the least!

“Through the years, I have taken many courses including chair caning, Stand Up and Speak Out, two genealogy classes, cataloging, researching and evaluating your antiques and family treasures, Let’s Get Organized, Health food cooking, Lose Weight with hypnosis, exercise, quilting (from T-shirts to treasured quilt), learn to sing, learn to play the piano, preserving books (taken at Princeton University Library), the tea lovers club, making greeting cards, and introduction to power point.”

Important Benefit

“I enjoyed all the courses, and the ones that brought lasting enjoyment are chair caning and quilting,” said Ms. Satterfield. “The antique chair I caned and the stool that I rushed are proudly displayed in my home, and the rocking chair I caned is in my friend’s home. I am now making a large quilt with T-shirts that have meaning in my life.

“The most important benefit that students get out of taking courses at the Princeton Adult School is the instruction and knowledge from qualified and learned instructors, lecturers, and the fun, skills, and academic advancement each student receives.”

Finding qualified and engaging instructors is a challenge for the board, and members often discover the teachers in unusual ways, reports Ms. Brener. “Sometimes, someone calls us wanting to teach, and sometimes it can be unexpected. I may sit next to someone at an event — that is how I met David Greene, who taught the Cole Porter evening. We were at the Princeton Symphony Orchestra benefit, and sat next to each other at dinner. A conversation ensued, and now he has regaled the Adult School with a night of Gershwin, Frank Sinatra, and Cole Porter.

“Or I can run into someone at McCaffrey’s, and great things can happen. Twice, last spring, I was checking out, and met women who had taught for us years ago. Now, one has returned to teach decorative wall painting, and the other is teaching ceramics.”

“We want teachers who do it and know how to do it,” adds Ms. Beck. “For us, the criterion is not that they are the most renowned person in their field, but that they must know how to teach. It helps that we know people who know people!

“For example, we have met with Shirley Tilghman (former President of Princeton University), and she is a great supporter of the Adult School. We’ll say to her ‘we need someone for a science course’, and she is very helpful in suggesting young scientists who are interested in teaching a class.”

Civil War Battlefields

There are such great opportunities, continues Ms. Beck. For example, “Pulitzer Prize winning author, James McPherson, former Princeton University history professor, takes a class on weekend trips to Civil War battlefields each spring. He has done this for several years, and it is a wonderful opportunity to see the battlefields with his guidance and expertise.”

The teachers also enjoy the classes, often as much as their students, and many have taught at the School for years. Singing instructor Alta Malberg, who also teaches privately in New York City and Princeton, has taught at the School for 12 years. As she notes, the students, who come from Princeton and the surrounding area, create an interesting dynamic.

“They have diverse backgrounds, talents, and knowledge, which gives to the classes as much as the instructors give to them. In my class, lasting friendships have formed, continuing outside of the classroom. Princeton Adult School does our community a great service because it reaches out, bringing students in, and they leave with a better sense of Princeton and the world around them.

“I teach singing with a lot extra,” points out Ms. Malberg. “One cannot be a successful singer without learning the ‘joy of the song.’ We learn to appreciate the lyrics and what our interpretation is through feelings, which leads to acting exercises. That leads to breathing and other physical exercises, such as placement of the voice, which leads to more freedom and enjoyment of your instrument, your voice.

“We do work as a group because of the time constraints, but if a student wants it, we do have a short time to work one-on-one. The students who attend my class are sometimes professionals who want a review, amateurs, who always wanted to do this but never had the opportunity or the time, and singers who just want to come out of the shower and enjoy the thing they love best — singing!”

Piano teacher and Princeton resident Jean Parsons has taught at PAS for more than 10 years, and her students are beginners. “I have taught people who have never played anything,” she reports. “In the fall, there is one beginning class. In spring, those people who wish to continue can do so the hour before the new beginning class is held.”

Full of Wonders

“Learning all our lives keeps us alive and growing,” adds Ms. Parsons. “The world is so full of wonders to discover, and we are in a position in our town to have them explained by some of the foremost people in their fields. I appreciate their generosity in sharing their knowledge with all of us who sign up at the Princeton Adult School and feed our curiosity.”

PAS has also paid special tribute during this 75th anniversary year to the late James Diamond, who was killed in an automobile accident last March. Rabbi Diamond had taught a very popular short story class at PAS for several years.

A series of lectures and events are planned to celebrate the School’s birthday throughout the coming year. Several other non-profit organizations will be hosting events in honor of its anniversary. These include the Princeton Public Library, Princeton Arts Council, McCarter Theater, Princeton University Art Museum, Pro Musica, Rider University/Westminster Choir College, Princeton Festival, Princeton University Concerts, Historical Society of Princeton, Morven, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton Symphony Orchestra, Dorothea’s House, and Princeton Healthcare System.

A champagne gala and live auction will be held May 4 at Jasna Polana. This special party is being underwritten by William and Judith Scheide, who with Betty Wold Johnson and Vivian and Harold Shapiro, are honorary co-chairs. Among the items to be auctioned are a trip to the Today Show with NBC’s chief medical editor Dr. Nancy Snyderman; a day with award-winning chef Scott Anderson of elements; and a cocktail party for 20 with two “mystery” servers.

Behind the Scenes

Additional auction selections include a day behind the scenes at McCarter Theater with artistic director Emily Mann; an after-hours children’s birthday party at JaZams toy store; a day with Princeton University Art Museum director James Steward in a behind the scenes tour at the Frick Collection and other art galleries on the Upper East Side of New York City; and a walk-on role at the Princeton Festival production of Diamonds Are Forever.

Not only has the Adult School offered people the opportunity to continue learning, it has often resulted in unexpected “side effects,” including lifelong friendships, romance and marriage, and gainful employment!

In years past, after a brief romance, a language teacher and one of his students were married, and have lived happily ever after. In another case, two students met at a class in September, and were married by Thanksgiving!

As Nancy Beck has noted, PAS has offered so many benefits (planned and unplanned!) and continues to do so. “There is a social aspect to the School. I have made life-long friendships here, and met such interesting people. And the School allows me to contribute to my community in a way I would not have done otherwise.

“Learning never ends. Human beings want to learn. That is the important thing, whether it is cooking, language, art, science, or discovering a new book. Whatever your motivation, PAS offers an opportunity to learn and exercise your brain. It’s been said that if you can’t find something to do at PAS, you’re not really trying!”

Most classes at Princeton Adult School are held Tuesday evenings. PAS receives no public funding, and must pay the teachers and the pubic schools for use of the classrooms. Class costs generally range from $15 to $200, depending on the length of the course schedule. Senior discounts are available for some courses. Registration for spring classes begins on January 3, 2014. For more information, call (609) 683-1101. Website: princetonadultschool.org.


According to Lewis Wildman, owner of Jordan’s of Princeton, the cards and gifts store in the Princeton Shopping Center, business this holiday season has been “flat to under.” While his store saw as many customers as in previous years, and they were all in good spirits, they were not spending as much. “People were buying less and thinking carefully about where to spend their money,” said Mr. Wildman. “Everyone’s Christmas list was shorter and the Internet isn’t helping.”

One bright spot, said Mr. Wildman, was his store’s new toy section where products by the Melissa and Doug brand are doing well. “Any mother with young children knows these lego-type items, crafts, stamps, and art supplies for ages two to eight.”

Sales of children’s toys proved to be up for Jazams as well. “If it weren’t for the snow, we’d have had a record-breaking end-of-year. Even so, it’s been incredible,” said Jazams owner Joanne Farrugia. Speaking by phone Monday from New York City while visiting with her six-year-old son Felix, she described her Princeton store at 25 Palmer Square East as “very busy” and the pop up store that Jazams created in partnership with PlayMobil on Hulfish Street as “more fun than anything.”

Felix, it seems, also had a good end of year with Santa bringing him a castle, a train, a ball, and “one of those things you stand on to watch the trains go by,” he said when handed the phone by his mother. “That’s a pedestrian bridge for his train,” explained Ms. Farrugia.

A call to the Bent Spoon at 35 Palmer Square West failed to elicit comment, but a recorded message noted that the store was “booked up for orders through January 5.” The store is known for introducing seasonal products and its latest flavor of ice cream, “Spruce Tree,” is tickling a few winter palates.

Hank Siegel of Hamilton Jewelers, who was in the Princeton store through Christmas Eve and in the Hamilton store in Florida on Monday, observed a very successful holiday season in Princeton. “We had new clients as well as friends of the Hamilton brand returning as they have done for a number of years.” What were the most popular items this year? A Hamilton brand bracelet that came in two sizes overlaid in white, yellow or rose gold for $95 sold so well that the store had to increase production. Diamond stud earrings, which Mr. Siegel said are popular year-round, were also strong this year in a range of sizes and prices from a few hundred dollars to many thousands of dollars.

Henry Landau of the clothing store on Nassau Street also reported “a very strong holiday season” with sales up from last year.

Relatively new in Princeton, the Farmhouse Store on Hulfish has found its niche. “We opened in the fall of 2012 and people didn’t know who we were at first, now that they have found our unique items, we did really well,” said owner Ron Menapace. Selling especially well were items from the store’s “geography” collection: tea towels, glasses, and pillows from states across the country. “These make great hostess gifts,” said Mr. Menapace.

But Cathy Barasch, assistant manager of Kitchen Kapers on Hulfish, voiced similar feelings to those expressed by the owner of Jordan’s in the Princeton Shopping Center: decent foot traffic not always translating into sales, with customers doing a lot of browsing and price comparing, and possibly shopping online.

Such comments are in accord with the reported last minute surge in online sales, encouraged by bad weather, that caused big businesses like Amazon, Kohl’s and Wal-Mart to be swamped and unable to deliver packages in time for Christmas.

Reports from IBM estimate that Internet sales jumped 37 percent on year over the pre-Christmas weekend. UPS was caught out when the volume of air packages exceeded its capacity. Online demand was much greater than the company had forecast, said a UPS spokeswoman. FedEx and USPS also suffered delays.

One other factor affecting sales, was the shorter-than-usual holiday season. “The season took a long time to get started and it was shorter this year,” said Ms. Barasch. “While the last few days have been good, it was slow getting there.”

With Thanksgiving falling in late November, there seemed to be less time for holiday shopping this year. The short season may also have affected sales at Labyrinth Books where Dorothea von Moltke reported “a good holiday season, though not as strong as the previous two years.”

“In general, it was another season in which on many days we were happy to find ourselves in a store bustling with people excited about books. This is what makes this the most fun time of year,” said Ms. Von Moltke.

New for the store owner, this year, were the number of customers asking that Labyrinth match the prices of books on the online retailer Amazon. “It appears that price-matching is becoming more of a trend and of course price-conscious shoppers are not looking to be educated about the many reasons why a brick and mortar store can’t compete with prices from an online retailer that doesn’t need to break even let alone make a profit on book sales,” commented Ms. Von Moltke. “In the Amazon business model, books are loss-leaders for cosmetics, appliances, etc,” she explained.

While sympathetic to such requests, Ms. Moltke said: “we are still trying to figure out how to respond in this situation since often we are dealing with a customer who in fact would prefer to shop local but for whom the world of heavily discounted pricing online has become the new normal even though it is destructive for just the sort of businesses he or she may be hoping to support, and we would like to honor the fact that they have bothered to come into our store.”

One anecdote Ms. Von Moltke shared from this year’s shopping experience demonstrates why customers still value the local small business experience. It happened on Christmas Eve just after the bookstore had locked its doors. Two latecomers knocked at the door begging to be let in. One needed a children’s book, any children’s book would do, the other needed a copy of the Bible. Although anxious to get home, Ms. Von Moltke’s colleague re-opened the store and helped them find what they needed. Try that at Wal-Mart.


When Princeton Council gathers for its annual reorganization meeting this Thursday evening, Mayor Liz Lempert will reflect on the first year of a consolidated Princeton while voicing her hopes for year number two.

This first official gathering of the year begins at 5:30 p.m. following a reception for members of the municipal staff. “Our reorganization meeting will be held one year and one day after we officially consolidated,” Ms. Lempert said in an email. “It’s an opportunity to look back over the course of the year and reflect on what we’ve accomplished and take stock of what still lies ahead.”

One accolade Ms. Lempert is likely to mention is a “Winner of the Year” citation in the political journal Politifax from December 18, 2013. Princeton was named as one of eight winners: “The Township and the Borough completed their amalgamation with a minimum of strife and a considerable tax savings for their citizens,” the citation reads.

The meeting will include such business-as-usual tasks as the naming of agreements for professional services, the swearing in of incumbent Council members Jenny Crumiller and Patrick Simon for new terms, and the naming of the Council president, which Ms. Lempert said she assumes will be current President Bernie Miller.

The mayor will also deliver a talk, the main points of which she outlined in her email.

“I’m proud of our record — we lowered municipal taxes, shrank the budget, extended residential trash pick up, and added dedicated traffic and safe neighborhood units to our police force,” she said. “We put a comprehensive emergency preparedness plan in place, and are better prepared to deal with major weather events, extended power outages, and other crises.”

Consolidation “jolted us out of autopilot and forced us to re-examine how we do business,” she continued. “This year saw us adopt a new personnel manual and a new conflict of interest policy. We adopted a police ordinance and lay the groundwork for accreditation of the new department. We negotiated a new three year contract with the police union. And we adopted an ordinance to harmonize salaries.”

Ms. Lempert also mentioned some new traditions, “including having the president of Princeton University, Chris Eisgruber, come speak with Council about shared goals and developing a relationship of respect for working out disagreements.” Mr. Eisgruber attended a Council meeting last month and voiced his interest in returning next year.

At Council’s final meeting of 2013 last week, several resolutions were introduced. A supplemental agreement with The Rodgers Group, the consulting firm that recently released its study on the Princeton Police Department, was voted on, not to exceed $2,000. The Council also voted to approve a resolution to supplement a three-year Strategic Technology Plan, not to exceed $20,000.



Members of the Princeton Battlefield Society (PBS) and other enthusiasts will be touring the Princeton Battlefield this New Year’s Day, Wednesday, January 1, from 7:30-9:30 a.m., when PBS trustee and British army historian William P. Tatum III, traces the steps of the American and British units at the same time of day as the original battle that took place on January 3, 1777, the first battle won against the British and a crucial turning point in the American Revolution. To attend, meet at the Thomas Clarke House, Princeton Battlefield State Park, wearing warm clothes and stout shoes or boots. There is a suggested donation of $5. The event kicks off the Battlefield’s celebration of New Jersey’s 350th Anniversary. For more information, visit www.theprincetonbattlefieldsociety.com.


December 26, 2013

The Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University announces spring art classes for all ages, beginning in late January. Professional educators address the needs of both beginners and advanced students, with opportunities to draw from both live models and the museum’s collection. 

Classes include: Drawing Club for Children (6 to 8 years old) and Young People (9 to 14 years old) and meet Wednesdays after school, beginning January 29 and March 5, respectively; ZAM Session for Teens and Young Adults and the Zimmerli Drawing Society for Adults meet on select Saturday afternoons, beginning February 22. To register, contact the Education Department at education@zimmerli.rutgers.edu or (848) 932.7237.

Zimmerli’s popular Drawing Club for Children and Young People meets five Wednesdays from 4:15 to 5:45 p.m. Sessions for 6-to 8-year-olds run January 29 through February 26. Youngsters from 9 to 14 years in age meet March 5 through April 2. The fee is $50 for Zimmerli members and $75 for nonmembers. Children discover the secrets of drawing, learning various techniques — including pencil and charcoal — and such genres as still life and portraiture.

ZAM Session for Teens and Young Adults meets six Saturdays from 3 to 4:30 p.m.: February 22, March 8 and 22, April 5 and 19, and May 3. The fee is $60 for Zimmerli members and $80 for nonmembers. ZAM Session is a dynamic art program that offers young artists the opportunity to develop their skills in a museum setting, an inspiring environment for college-bound students.

Drawing Society for Adults (18 and older) meets six Saturdays from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.: February 22, March 8 and 22, April 5 and 19, and May 3. The fee is $100 for Zimmerli members and $135 for nonmembers. Each session is overseen by a master artist. The museum provides drawing boards, and select sessions include live models; participants are asked to bring their own drawing pads, portable easels, and other suggested materials.

The Zimmerli Art Museum is located at 71 Hamilton Street at George Street on the College Avenue campus of Rutgers University in New Brunswick. Hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m., and the first Wednesday of each month (except August), 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. The museum is closed Mondays, major holidays, and the month of August. For advanced registration (required), visit: www.zimmerlimuseum.rutgers.edu. For more information, call 848.932.7237 or visit the museum’s website: www.zimmerlimuseum.rutgers.edu.


New Jersey Hall of Fame (NJHOF) inductee and renowned Princeton architect Michael Graves visited the Hun School of Princeton when it hosted the NJHOF Mobile Museum on Wednesday, December 11. Mr. Graves provided tours of the museum, a multimedia exhibition created around the theme, “Make a Difference” and celebrating the contributions by New Jersey citizens, to students and faculty and answered questions. Mr. Graves designed the museum space, along with museum exhibition designer Ralph Appelbaum Associates. In February, the mobile museum will be stationed within Super Bowl Village at Met Life Stadium during Super Bowl XLVIII. From left, Mr. Graves and Thomas Byrne, son of New Jersey Hall of Fame inductee New Jersey Governor Brendan Byrne.


BookMugEconomist Mariana Mazzucato, who has been named by the New Republic as one of “the ‘most important innovation thinkers today,” will be in the Community Room of the Princeton Public Library on December 30 at 7 p.m. to discuss her new best-seller, The Entrepreneurial State — Debunking Public vs. Private Myths in Risk and Innovation

According to Andrew Jackson of The Toronto Globe and Mail, “Ms. Mazzucato provides a refreshing new take on rather stale debates on the economic role of
government. […] The Entrepreneurial State is a forceful reminder that governments have a major role to play in building a highly productive, innovative and sustainable economy.”

Named one of the ‘2013 Books of the Year’ by the Financial Times, The Entrepreneurial State was recommended by Forbes in its 2013 “creative leaders” list.

Ms. Mazzucato received her BA from Tufts University in History and International Relations, and a PhD in Economics at the Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research. She is a professor of economics at the University of Sussex, where she holds the RM Phillips Chair in Science and Technology Policy (in SPRU). Her current research work is funded also by the Ford Foundation and by the Institute for New Economic Thinking. Her research focuses on the theoretical and empirical relationship between innovation, growth, and finance. More information on her projects, media involvement, and publications can be found on marianamazzucato.com.

COLONIAL GIRLS: Photographer Andrew Wilkinson took this portrait of two “Colonial Maids” during last year’s Patriots Week. Recent years have seen an explosion in events that delve into women’s roles during the Revolutionary War period. For more information about events from December 26 through December 31, visit: patriotsweek.com.

COLONIAL GIRLS: Photographer Andrew Wilkinson took this portrait of two “Colonial Maids” during last year’s Patriots Week. Recent years have seen an explosion in events that delve into women’s roles during the Revolutionary War period. For more information about events from December 26 through December 31, visit: patriotsweek.com.

The year 2014 marks the 350th Anniversary of the State of New Jersey and the Princeton Battlefield Society (PBS) will kick off the celebration with a New Year’s Day “real-time” Tour of the Battle of Princeton at Princeton Battlefield State Park. 

Re-enactor and British army historian Will Tatum III will lead the tour from the Thomas Clarke House at 500 Mercer Street, from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m., tracing the steps of American and British units at the same time of day as the original battle on January 3, 1777, a crucial turning point in the American Revolution. Admission is free. A suggested donation of $5 per person will be used for the renovation of the Thomas Clarke House. Warm clothes and stout shoes or boots are advised. To take part, email: princetonbattlefieldtours@gmail.com. For more information, visit: www.theprincetonbattlefieldsociety.com.

The PBS tour is part of this year’s Patriots Week activities from December 26 through December 31 that begin right after the reenactment of Washington crossing the Delaware on Christmas Day.

In 1776, the tide-turning battles of the American Revolution were waged on the streets and surrounding fields of downtown Trenton. Patriots Week, celebrates the history of New Jersey’s capital city with concerts, walking and bus tours, music, lectures, exhibitions, and hands-on activities for families, history buffs, re-enactors and culture seekers alike.

According to Trenton Downtown Association (TDA) organizer Amy Brummer, Patriots Week began in 2004 as a way to bring more people into the capital city. It is produced by TDA in partnership with the Old Barracks Museum, which has been staging Battle of Trenton re-enactments for more than 20 years.

Ms. Brummer managed Patriots Week in its second year and has long been a fan of activities that follow the annual Washington reenactment on Christmas Day.

Revolutionary War historian David McCullough wrote: “Trenton was the first great cause of hope, a brave and truly brilliant stroke …. With the victory at Trenton came the realization that Americans had bested the enemy, bested the fearsome Hessians, the King’s detested hirelings, outsmarted them, and outfought them, and so might well again …”

Each year sees the addition of new Patriots Week events that, in addition to battle re-enactments, include music, art, dancing, dining, poetry, history presentations, book signings, exhibits, and tours. In recent years, there has been an effort to make the program more inclusive, bringing in cultural events that focus on the role of women and of African Americans. “Many people are surprised to learn just how multicultural colonial society in Trenton was. It was not a homogeneous society by any means and there were many different religious groups, such as Quakers, Episcopalians and Presbyterians,” said Ms. Brummer.

New this year is a reading of the poetry of Phillis Wheatley by Dr. Amanda Kemp, with violin accompaniment, at the Trenton Friends Meeting House. “We are also partnering with ArtWorks for a drop-in session where visitors write letters and make cards to send to active soldiers serving overseas. They will be delivered around Valentines Day and this is a way to connect history with current events,” said Ms. Brummer, whose favorite activity is the New Citizen Swearing-In ceremony at 11 a.m. on December 26, in the City Hall Council Chambers, 319 E. State Street.

Also new are “Martha Washington’s Kitchen Garden” at 3 p.m. on December 27 at the New Jersey State Museum and a New Year’s Eve Celebration: Capital Philharmonic at 8 p.m. in the Patriots Theater. Romanian-born pianist Gabriela Imreh will perform the Spellbound Concerto from Hitchcock’s film and the orchestra, under the baton of Daniel Spalding, will perform music from around the world including works by Franz Liszt, Leonard Bernstein, and Johann Strauss, Jr.

Besides the battle re-
enactments and the Colonial Dinner, held this year at the First Presbyterian Church, Ms. Brummer recommends the Colonial Ball in which a lot of re-enactors participate. “People come from all over and wear period clothing and long dresses. It’s like a Revolutionary War Prom,” she said.

Most of the events are free, but tickets are required for the Colonial Ball, and food events, such as Tea at the restored 1719 William Trent House at 15 Market Street, Trenton’s oldest building and a National Historic Landmark.

William Trent House

The New Year will be celebrated in Scottish fashion at the restored 1719 William Trent House, 15 Market Street, Trenton with a
traditional Hogmanay, Friday, December 27, at 12:30 p.m. Bagpiper Patty Downey will celebrate William Trent’s Scottish heritage with a program of winter and Scottish music. Trenton Councilwoman Marge Caldwell-Wilson will host and there will be complimentary hot mulled cider and cookies. No reservations are needed.

On Sunday, December 29, at 2 p.m., Susan McLellan Plaisted of Heart to Hearth Cookery, will offer an 18th century tea and explore the etiquette and meaning of tea in colonial times. The tearoom will be set with linens and the famous pink china that was custom-made for the Trent House. Period dress is welcome but not required. Tickets are $15, $10 for supporters. Reservations required, pre-payment appreciated. Seating is limited, make your reservation today at 609-989-0087 or trenthouseassociation@verizon.net. For more information, visit: www.williamtrenthouse.org.

Space is limited for many activities, so call beforehand. For a full schedule of Patriots Week events, program descriptions, and to purchase tickets, visit: www.patriotsweek.com.


The biggest story of 2013 unfolded on the first day of the year as Princeton Borough and Township made their consolidation into one community official. A standing-room-only celebration, held in what was formerly the Municipal Building and is now known as Witherspoon Hall, marked the beginning of a new era for the town.

Town Topics asked Anton Lahnston, who chaired the Princeton Consolidation and Shared Services Study Commission, how he would rate Year One of the long-awaited merger. While acknowledging bumps along the way, he is generally encouraged by how the process had gone, giving much credit to the municipal staff. “On a scale of one to ten, I’d give it a seven or eight,” he said. “It’s not easy, and we never said it was going to be.”

Mr. Lahnston cited services to the community, the merger of the police force, and savings as key to consolidation’s success. Public works and responsiveness have improved, the police force has melded together despite unrest involving the departure of chief David Dudeck, and savings are on the right track. Allowing for those “bumps along the way,” he said he is encouraged by developments in all three areas. What concerns him the most is a “lack of harmony” among members of the governing body.

“The most comments I get from people are about the functioning of the Council,” he said. “There has been some time lost because of this. Some things need to be handled by the governing body prior to Council meetings, and some of the debates have gone on much too long. But the mayor has done a fabulous job in trying to keep things moving. I think there are some real opportunities for improvements as we move into the next year.”


After the Planning Board rejected its plan for a 280-unit rental community at the former site of Princeton’s hospital on Witherspoon Street, the developer AvalonBay filed a lawsuit challenging the decision, naming the town, the Planning Board, Mayor Liz Lempert, and the Council as defendants. The defendants and the developer then entered into a series of quiet meetings and finally came to a compromise.

With even-tempered Jon Vogel as representative instead of the more combative Ron Ladell, AvalonBay revised its plans and brought them before the Planning Board at the end of June. Promising greater permeability, five buildings instead of one large edifice, a scaled-down swimming pool and other adjustments, the plan was approved in July.

The group Princeton Citizens for Sustainable Neighborhoods withdrew its opposition to the proposal despite continuing concerns about scale, sustainability, and the effect on the character of the neighborhood. But as a result of the group’s efforts, AvalonBay agreed to donate $70,000 to the Arts Council of Princeton toward the inclusion of public art in the project.

No date has been set for demolition of the old hospital building.

Princeton University

Between a new president, a major bomb threat that remained just that, and an epidemic of meningitis, the ivied institution on Nassau Street was the subject of widespread news coverage this year.

Christopher L. Eisgruber, the University’s former provost, formally succeeded president Shirley M. Tilghman at a ceremony on September 22 on the front lawn of Nassau Hall. Mr. Eisgruber graduated from Princeton and first joined the faculty in 2001 as a Constitutional scholar. Since taking office, he has stressed his commitment to diversity and inclusivity of the University community, particularly with the endorsement of a study on the subject by a trustee committee.

Helicopters circled overhead and television news trucks were parked outside the campus June 10 during a daylong search for explosives after a bomb threat was called in for multiple buildings. The University evacuated students, faculty and staff to different sites including the Princeton Public Library, the Nassau Inn, and the Arts Council buildings, telling them to stay away from campus until otherwise advised. But by 6:30 p.m., the campus was reopened and all returned to normal. The University’s Department of Public Safety investigated the threat with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. But no bomb was found and no culprit was named.

The first case of meningitis B on the campus was reported in March. By early December, eight cases had been diagnosed. In November, the State of New Jersey had declared an outbreak of the disease, which is spread through sharing drinking glasses and utensils, smoking materials, and kissing. The Centers for Disease Control was brought in, and recommended that all Princeton undergraduates, graduate students living on campus, and other members of the community with medical conditions be vaccinated.

Though the vaccine has yet to be formally approved in the United States, special permission was given for it to be dispensed. More than 5,200 received the shots this month. A second round will be available in February. Those who were infected with meningitis B, which can be fatal, are recovering.

Arts & Transit

Princeton University began construction on its $330 million Arts & Transit project during the summer. The complex of performing arts and education buildings, public plazas, a new Dinky train station and new Wawa market has been the source of controversy among those opposed to moving the train terminus 460 feet to the south.

A temporary train platform was installed some 1,200 feet south of the original train buildings, which are to be turned into a restaurant and cafe managed by Princeton’s Terra Momo Group. Save the Dinky Inc. has filed lawsuits and an emergency appeal to try and stop the move. As recently as this month, residents opposed to the relocation of the station asked University President Eisgruber, at a meeting of Princeton Council, to change the course of the construction project.

[Another source of sadness for preservation-minded citizens was the demolition of a string of 19th century houses on Alexander Street to make room for construction. The white clapboard buildings, owned by the University, were not considered historically significant. But they formed a gateway, valued by many, into town. Though the University ended up offering the homes free to anyone willing to move them — a costly prospect — there were no takers].[above para could be cut, if need be]

All has not gone smoothly during construction of the arts campus. In October, a 200-foot section of the canopy collapsed at the station. While no one was injured, the accident led members of Council to request a close look at what caused the collapse, which was blamed on a faulty support structure, and whether proper permits were used. The University initiated its own peer review of the accident.

One aspect of the construction that has gone more smoothly than expected is the rerouting of traffic on Alexander Street and University Place. For the most part, motorists driving between Route One and downtown Princeton have been able to snake through without significant delay. Construction is proceeding in stages and completion of the entire project is targeted for fall 2017.


Although Princeton has been certified bronze by the organization Sustainable Jersey, the town wants to be upgraded to silver. With that effort in mind, a “municipal green team” was announced in October to include Mayor Liz Lempert, local officials, and Diane Landis of Sustainable Princeton. The idea is to score 350 points by improving efforts toward a greener town. Helping to get the effort off the ground was a $10,000 grant from Princeton University’s Office of Community and Regional Affairs.


When the Oklahoma-based Williams Company announced its plans to install a new, 1.2-mile natural gas pipeline through a section of the Princeton Ridge last February, a red flag went up among residents of the Ridge. How would the work, which would involve blasting and considerable construction, affect this environmentally sensitive area?

In a big way, it turns out. Citizens who formed a group called The Princeton Ridge Coalition did their homework and raised their concerns with Williams in a series of meetings. The company listened, and recently responded by saying they may possibly turn off an existing pipeline during the project, if it is approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

As a result of efforts by the citizens’ group and the municipality, FERC has also asked Williams to explore a plan that would take the new pipeline to a location west of the route currently being pursued. Princeton Council voted in October to file for “intervenor” status, which gives the town the option to request a new hearing by FERC and a chance to appeal decisions. Construction on the pipeline, which is part of the Leidy Southeast Expansion Project bringing Marcellus shale gas from Pennsylvania, could start in the spring of 2015.


In October, the website Planet Princeton revealed that two parking meter enforcement officers were allegedly allowing some downtown businesses to park at expired meters in exchange for free food and drink. Both attendants were suspended without pay the day after the story was broken. An investigation was quickly conducted by the town, resulting in the firing of officer Chris Boutote and the reassignment of colleague John Hughes. No criminal charges were filed.[this paragraph could go as well; if left in, it should be part of the police section] \]


There were no major surprises in Princeton’s General Election this year. Council members Patrick Simon and Jenny Crumiller, both Democrats, were re-elected over newcomer Fausta Rodriguez, running as a Republican.

Princeton Police Department

On January 1, 2013, David Dudeck was appointed as Chief of the newly consolidated Princeton Police Department. The following month, after he had announced that the department would conduct a door-to-door survey of Princeton residents and businesses as to what they expected of the police, Chief Dudeck was absent from his post amid allegations of administrative misconduct. An agreement between Mr. Dudeck and the police union, in which the former agreed to retire, obviated an investigation into the chief’s conduct by the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office. After a long leave of absence, he retired September 1. Meanwhile, the daily operation of the Department was in the hands of Captain Nick Sutter.

In August, seven officers filed a lawsuit against Mr. Dudeck, the Princeton Police Department and the municipality of Princeton. The suit alleged that the officers, all of whom were members of the former Borough police department before consolidation, were “discriminated against and harassed” based upon “their gender, sexual orientation and disability.”

The municipality hired the Rodgers Group to report on the police force and considered alternative leadership models, such as having a civilian administrator to be the statutory “appropriate authority” for oversight of the force. In September, Council gave “appropriate authority” to the town’s administrator, Robert Bruschi, as opposed to the governing body of mayor and Council. Mayor Liz Lempert was called upon to cast the tie-breaking vote in the decision. The question of police oversight was a hot-button topic this year for residents and council members, especially in the context of the chief’s forced retirement and lawsuits.

Earlier this month, the 83-page Rodgers Report recommended, as a priority, the appointment of a new chief from within the department rather than a civilian public safety director. Acting Chief Captain Nick Sutter was singled out for praise. Council hopes to make a decision about the appointment in the New Year.

This year, in May, Princeton Police and Princeton University’s department of public safety updated an agreement that clarifies who does what. Accordingly, unarmed campus police will take all routine service calls for incidents on University property. In a situation that threatens public safety, a critical incident in progress, say a kidnapping or a threat with a deadly weapon, then the armed Princeton Police would respond until the situation is under control.

Princeton Public Schools

As a result of consolidation, what had been the Princeton Regional School District became Princeton Public Schools (PPS). The Board of Education began 2013 by completing a bond sale in January. The Chicago-based investment firm Hutchinson, Shockey, Erley & Co. beat out competitors for the $10,980,000 bond at a net interest rate of 1.43 percent. According to Stephanie Kennedy, business administrator for Princeton Public Schools, the “historically low lending rate” was lower than-anticipated, yielding substantial savings to Princeton taxpayers. The debt service was more than half a million dollars less than originally projected. One factor leading to the lower interest rate was Moody’s rating of PPS as Aaa, a rating held by only a handful of school districts in New Jersey.

[In February, Newark Mayor Cory Booker visited John Witherspoon Middle School, at the invitation of principal Jason Burr, to address the eighth grade assembly as part of a school-wide celebration of community, student service, and kindness. Mr. Booker was welcomed as a “champion of social change and educational reform” and received rousing applause from the audience that included members of the Princeton Public Schools Board of Education, Mayor Liz Lempert, and past JWMS Principal William Johnson. [above paragraph could be dropped]]

In November, voters elected three new members of the Princeton Board of Education: Molly Chrein, Thomas Hagedorn, and Andrea Spalla. Ms. Chrein and Ms. Spalla have been on the Board since 2010. Mr. Hagadorn filled the seat made vacant when Dorothy Bedford stepped down earlier in the year. It had been filled in the interim by former Board President Anne Burns.

New PRISMS School

In January, after the American Boychoir School had relocated to Mapleton Road, its old home at 19 Lambert Drive, was purchased by the Bairong Education Foundation for a new Princeton International School of Mathematics and Science (PRISMS). The new private coeducational boarding school for 9th through 12th grades, with some day students, opened with a pilot program this fall and expects to be fully operational by the fall 2014. Former Illinois Secretary of Education Dr. Glenn W. “Max” McGee was appointed as Head of School in August.

Princeton Public Library

Consolidation meant a name change for the Princeton Public Library. When six new trustees took their seats on the board a the start of the year one of their first duties was to sign a document that formally changed the library to “The Free Public Library,” from “Joint Free Public Library of Princeton,” “joint’” indicating that it served both the Borough and the Township. The six new board appointees were Mayor Liz Lempert, Audrey Gould, Ruth Miller, Kevin Royer, Pamela Wakefield, and Barak Bar-Cohen.

After holding the line on budget for the last four years. the Library asked for an increase this year, citing increased costs for health benefits, unemployment and disability insurance, and pension contributions.

Once again the Library brought top authors to town, including Jhumpa Lahiri, the Pulitzer Prize winning Indian American author of The Namesake and Matthew Quick, author of The Silver Linings Playbook. The latter was chosen for Princeton Reads, the town-wide literary celebration held every other year. Local Authors Day in April featured Admissions author Jean Hanff Korelitz, along with more than 40 other local writers. The Friends of the Library’s annual benefit in October, featured Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Remnick in conversation with Princeton’s own John McPhee and Paul Muldoon.

Filmmakers also found a place at the Library with Superstorm Sandy and its legacy much on the minds of participants at the Seventh Annual Princeton Environmental Film Festival in January. [In February, the 105th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was celebrated when Looking for Lincoln, the documentary written by Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. was screened. A second documentary, based on Douglas A. Blackmon’s Pulitzer-Prize winning book, Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II was also shown. bracketed part could be dropped]

Some 86 authors and illustrators in children’s literature took part in the Library’s annual Children’s Book Festival on Hinds Plaza in September. According to librarian and festival director Allison Santos, the event is now one of the largest of its kind in the country. It featured Princeton-born authors Ann M. Martin, famed for her Baby Sitters Club series, and award-winning author and illustrator Brian Lies whose New York Times bestselling bat series includes Bats at the Beach, Bats at the Ballgame, and, appropriately enough, Bats at the Library.

Valley Road Building

In March, Princeton Public Schools Board of Education rejected a plan to turn part of its Valley Road building into a Community Center that would be a hub for area non-profits. In a seven-page resolution they rejected the 208-page proposal from the Valley Road School Adaptive Reuse Committee (VRS-ARC). The resolution said that their proposal failed to provide “credible, documented assurances that it has or can secure funding adequate for the extremely extensive building renovations.” According to a consultant hired by the district, some $10.8 million would be required to renovate the building. Nonetheless, advocates of the community center, John Clearwater and Kip Cherry, said they would not give up. The building’s last two tenants Corner House and TV30 moved to Monument Hall.

In May, Preservation New Jersey included the Valley Road School on its annual list of the Ten Most Endangered Historic Places in New Jersey and the VRS-ARC launched a campaign to put the question of saving the building on November’s General Election ballot. The campaign failed when municipal attorney Edwin Schmierer advised the municipality that the question could not be on the ballot because the building is not owned by the municipality but by the Princeton Public Schools, which bought the building for $1 from Princeton Township in 2002.

Princeton Borough and Princeton Township had submitted a proposal for the building in 2011 that would demolish the school and build a new complex to house the Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad and an expanded fire station. With the Board of Education voting this month to appropriate funds for a future demolition project (see story, page X), the long saga of Valley Road Building may be coming to an end.

Princeton Future

The grassroots non-profit organization, Princeton Future, formed to protect and enhance Princeton’s unique community and share concerns about future growth and development provided three opportunities for residents to join in discussions this year. Its members are “wary of piecemeal, project-by-project development and, instead, seek broad community support for integrated solutions that balance the benefits of economic growth with the values of neighborhood identity, historic preservation, environmental sustainability, aesthetics and social equity.”

Focusing on the question: “A United Princeton Looks at the Future: What Do We Want Our Town and Region to be in the Next 20 Years?” the group, brought in planning experts to discuss what, why, and how to effect change. In March, some 50 residents turned out to learn about a new information tool created by regional planner Ralph Widner who unveiled a database culled from U.S. census information that will be valuable for future decision-making and planning purposes. The issue of traffic loomed large.

In November, Mr. Widner and others listened to the findings of a joint Princeton University and Princeton Municipality task force, which presented a report on the Alexander Street corridor.

The Alexander Street/University Place (ASUP) Traffic and Transit Task Force looked at problems and potential solutions, including transit options along the Dinky line between Princeton Junction.


It took several contentious public hearings this past March for the Regional Planning Board to come to a decision allowing the Institute for Advanced Study to go forward with a plan for a faculty housing development. But it wasn’t long before the Princeton Battlefield Society, which opposes the plan, took action to stall the project. In July, the Battlefield Society filed an appeal in Mercer County Superior Court challenging the approval. Along with some historians, they believe the site is the center of the historic counterattack at the Battle of Princeton during the Revolutionary War, and therefore should not be disturbed.

Despite the legal action, and the June announcement that TheКNational Trust for Historic PreservationКhad named the Princeton Battlefield to its 2012 list ofКAmerica’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places, the IAS plan for eight townhouses and seven single-family homes on a seven-acre section of the campus is going forward. The development of 15 homes is expected to include a 200-foot buffer zone next to Battlefield Park that will be permanently preserved as open space.

So far, the Princeton Battlefield Society and its attorney Bruce Afran have brought three suits that could stall the Institute’s plans.

Other Changes

Downtown Princeton saw some changes this year with new eateries Agricola and Mistral, a new Jack Wills store on Nassau Street, the addition of the Lambertville coffee roastery, Rojo’s, and a renovation that allowed Hamilton Jewelers to expand its range of merchandise when it closed its Lawrenceville store early in the year. The new Jack Wills is the first such store in New Jersey for the British brand of home goods, clothing and accessories for men and women. The Princeton Theological Seminary finished its new library, and the Princeton Family YMCA opened its renovated athletic facility, named in honor of Jim and Nancye Fitzpatrick with new cardio equipment, strength training, and free weights. The University began renovating the Old Town Topics Building. Corner House and TV 30 moved from the old Valley Road Building to Monument Hall and the Post Office on Palmer Square (see story on page 1) found a new owner.


At last week’s meeting of the Princeton Pubic Schools Board of Education, the final meeting of retiring Superintendent Judith A. Wilson’s nine-year tenure, a vote was taken that might seal the fate of the Valley Road Building. 

The Board voted unanimously (member Molly Chrein was absent) to appropriate funding for the demolition of that part of the Valley Road School that fronts Witherspoon Street.

Board President Tim Quinn took pains to point out that what was being voted on was not approval to demolish the building but rather the “approval to appropriate funds to prepare for the demolition of the building.” Experts, he said, would need to be hired to determine the cost of demolition.

The revised resolution that passed at the meeting includes no estimate of costs associated with demolition but does say that the funds should, if possible, be included in the budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year “or the first available budget where funds can be appropriated” and that “the Board will entertain proposals for the use and purchase, where possible, of the land at 369 Witherspoon Street.”

Any move to demolish the building is bound to be controversial. Advocates hoping to save the historic structure have brought plans to the Board of Education and to Princeton Council in the hope of turning it into a community center and hub for area non-profits.

For a brief round up of recent history of the building see page 8.

The meeting was attended by Kip Cherry, president of the Valley Road School Community Center, Inc, the 501c3 non-profit formed by the Valley Road Adaptive Re-Use Committee (VRS-ARC), and by John Clearwater, a former member of the Board of Education in the 1990s and one time Board president. Both regard the building as an asset belonging to the people of Princeton and wish to see a community facility. Mr. Clearwater has described it as a “test case” for “how we deal with the stewardship of public property in Princeton.”

The VRS-ARC has found a developer specializing in adaptive reuse projects who is interested in taking on and financing the project. Mr. Clearwater again raised the issue of whether the Board has the right to sell the property, which previously belonged to the township and was sold to the Board of Education for the nominal sum of $1.

Some local officials want to demolish the building and use the space to expand the fire house on Witherspoon Street. But as yet, there has been no decision beyond raising funds for demolition.

At the same meeting, the Board unanimously approved a raise for principals and supervisors. The increase for the 2014-15 calendar year provides a 2.4 percent raise and a $100 increase in longevity pay for those administrators currently receiving it.

Superintendent Wilson retires on the last day of the year. She will be succeeded by Stephen Cochrane who will take up his post at the start of the New Year. A special video thanking her for her service was shown at the Board meeting.

Former Board President Anne Burns who was appointed last May to serve the remainder of Board member Dorothy Bedford’s term after the latter had moved from Princeton, was thanked for her contribution to the Board. She will be succeeded next month by new member Tom Hagedorn.


Negotiations with a California-based development company are underway for the sale of Princeton’s post office on Palmer Square. Once the arrangements are completed, the branch will move to a smaller site on the Square at 51-53 Hulfish Street, according to a spokesman for the real estate firm that is brokering the deal.

LCOR Ventures is the buyer of the historic building that has housed the Princeton post office since 1934. The company is not ready to comment on just how the space would be used. “They don’t know yet,” said Alec Monaghan, first vice president of CBRE Inc., the real estate firm handling the sale. “It could be a single user. Or it could be multiple users, as in shops, or a restaurant.”

David Newton, vice president of Palmer Square Management, cautioned Monday that the sale of the old building is still pending. “It’s still subject to the lease getting finalized, and we’re hopeful that will happen soon,” he said. “I think it’s very, very important that the post office stay in the downtown where there is easy access from the University.”

CBRE is also representing other post office locations throughout the country as the United State Post Office downsizes. LCOR is a national developer specializing in public/private partnerships, according to the company’s website. The firm’s list of projects includes Terminal 4 at JFK International Airport.

The Princeton post office will be scaling down from 12,000 to about 2,000 square feet if the deal is finalized and it moves to its new home on Hulfish Sreet, currently the temporary location of a toy store. The office should be up and running by early to late May, according to Mr. Monaghan.

“I think it’s going to be a wonderful space,” he said. “There’s more light. Even the clerks I talk to at the post office are happy about it. It’s better for them and it’s definitely better for the public.”

Some residents were hoping that the post office would relocate to a site like the Princeton Shopping Center, where there is ample parking available. Others hoped it would move from Palmer Square to the middle of downtown. The new location has some on-street, metered spaces in front and is opposite the Chambers Street parking garage. “I look on it as a positive that it’s not in the middle of town,” said Mr. Monaghan. “It’s a better location for a quick in and out.”



After beginning its 20th anniversary celebration Sunday morning with music from the Princeton High School String Quartet, Small World Coffee threw a party that evening, shown in progress here, featuring a visit from the Nomad pizza truck, lots of mementos to mark the occasion, and live music from Chris Harford and the Band of Changes. (Photo by Emily Reeves)


December 18, 2013
VINTAGE FINDS: This 1957 Havana travel brochure was found in a study carrel during recent demolition work at Princeton University’s Firestone Library. Along with other items ranging from an 1850s Oxford, England visitor’s guide to an old smoking pipe, the brochure is on display in a glass case in the Library lobby.

VINTAGE FINDS: This 1957 Havana travel brochure was found in a study carrel during recent demolition work at Princeton University’s Firestone Library. Along with other items ranging from an 1850s Oxford, England visitor’s guide to an old smoking pipe, the brochure is on display in a glass case in the Library lobby.

At Princeton University’s Firestone Library, a 10-year renovation project currently underway has produced some unexpected clues to the past. Workers knocking down walls and dismantling old study carrels have come across evidence that students in the early days of the library, which was built in 1948, had more on their minds than the exams they were cramming for or the papers they were writing.

There is the copy of the magazine Foto-rama that was found in one carrel. “Wedding Nights are Not Important!” screams one headline. “Anita, Iceberg or Sexberg?” reads another, referring to the sultry 1960s actress Anita Ekberg. A brochure advertising trips to pre-revolutionary Havana has penciled-in additions to the copy. Arrows point to “my room” and “my girl’s room.” Next to one of the advertised offerings, another notation reads “not included: sexual diversions, female camaraderie.”

But the findings at Firestone are not limited to the mildly pornographic. On display in a large glass case in the library’s lobby are numerous items workers have discovered during the renovation. There is a color copy of a visitor’s guide to Oxford, England, circa 1850s. A seed packet from Farr Hardware Company of Nassau Street, which closed its doors in 1970, is included, along with vintage beer cans, an old smoking pipe, and an exam from 1959 with the handwritten promise: “I pledge my honor as a gentleman that during this examination I have neither given nor received assistance.”

Hanging behind the case is a drapery panel that was found inside a locked closet on the third floor, believed to be one of several that hung in Firestone’s original faculty lounge. Along with the draperies, workers came upon a couple of empty pickle jars, not surprising since the faculty lounge had some kitchen facilities.

Ted Munz is project superintendent for Massimino Building Corporation, and has worked on the Princeton campus since 1989. It was one of his workers who found the Oxford visitors’ guide, now in the Library’s Rare Books Collection. “When it went up on the website, they actually got a response from Oxford,” he says. “It’s pretty exciting. I’m a history buff, so I’m always looking for things.”

One of Mr. Munz’s most interesting discoveries was in another campus building, Brown Hall. “I found a wedding invitation from 1918,” he says. “When I started doing some research I found out that the son of the couple on the invitation had died just two weeks before I found it. Amazing.”

The Firestone renovation is targeted for completion in 2018. In six sections, it is currently in phase “2B,” according to Peggy Kehrer, Library Construction and Communications Coordinator. “When the guys started finding all these things, our idea was to do an exhibit that we can add to all the time,” she says. “John Walako of Rare Books and Special Collections arranged the exhibit and designed the cards identifying everything. We’ve made sure that all the names are blocked out.”

While her work at the Library takes place away from the lobby where the display case is located, Ms. Kehrer hears from colleagues that it has become a popular stop for people visiting the building. Recently, actor/director Woody Allen and his family took in the exhibit when he was on campus to speak at a Friends of the Library event.

According to Mr. Munz, it isn’t unusual to find relics of the past during this kind of renovation project. “The carrels are metal units and things can slip down the back,” he says. “And there are always things left in the walls and in unexpected places.”

Among the most recent discoveries is a postcard from Hawaii sent to one of the students. “I won’t tell you what it says,” Ms. Kehrer said, with a laugh. “It’s not exactly PC.”

The public is welcome to view the exhibit in the Library’s lobby. For more information, visit http://libblogs.princeton.edu/renovations/fun-finds/.


FROM BOOTH TO BRICKS AND MORTAR: Kim Rizk, left, and Kathy Klockenbrink, right, have decided to take their “Jammin Crepes” concept from the Princeton and West Windsor farmers’ markets to an all-season, indoor location at 20 Nassau Street. The eatery is scheduled to open in early spring.

FROM BOOTH TO BRICKS AND MORTAR: Kim Rizk, left, and Kathy Klockenbrink, right, have decided to take their “Jammin Crepes” concept from the Princeton and West Windsor farmers’ markets to an all-season, indoor location at 20 Nassau Street. The eatery is scheduled to open in early spring.

Kim Rizk wants people to know that the crepes she and business partner Kathy Klockenbrink sell at local farmers’ markets are about more than sweet stuff.

“We’re not promoting strawberries, bananas, and Nutella,” says the co-owner of Jammin’ Crepes, a booth that has been a recent fixture at the Princeton and West Windsor markets. In fact, the crepes serve as vehicles for fresh vegetables, cheese from local farms, and their homemade jams, “a re-invention of a fresh sandwich and very different from a traditional French crepe,” she says.

The popularity of the seasonal business has led the partners to expand to a year-round venture. Beginning in early spring, they will be marketing their crepes at a casual, sit-down restaurant to be located at 20 Nassau Street. Soups, baked goods, juices, coffees, and teas will also be part of the mix at Jammin’ Crepes, which will continue to focus on fresh products from local farms.

“Opening a restaurant was actually what we initially intended to do,” says Ms. Rizk, a food writer who also sells real estate for Callaway Henderson Sotheby’s International Realty. “We thought the farmers’ markets would be a great way to have a pilot program for our brick-and-mortar location. And that’s exactly how it turned out. But we’ll continue with the farmers’ markets in both locations, because that’s what we’re all about.”

Ms. Rizk was involved in farm-to-table cuisine long before it became a craze. She grew up in the food and hospitality business. Her family owned and operated The Barley Sheaf Inn in Bucks County, in the former home of playwright and author Moss Hart. “It was a 30-acre farm on a William Penn land grant property. My parents loved to entertain at the farm, and they started the bed-and-breakfast,” she says. “The farm supplied a lot of the food.”

After marrying and moving to Connecticut, Ms. Rizk worked for Hay Day Country Market, a high-end, specialty farmer’s market, for 12 years. She is the author of The Hay Day Country Market Cookbook, now out of print but still popular. “It’s a very relevant cookbook that I find was a little bit ahead of it’s time,” she says. “People tell me they still refer to it.”

As a freelance food writer, Ms. Rizk provided articles for New Jersey Countryside magazine and The Newark Star-Ledger. After moving to Princeton with her family, she got involved in several local food initiatives. When she met Ms. Klockenbrink, who had studied French cooking in the Savoy region of France, the two discovered their common passion for farm-fresh food. They opened the Jammin’ Crepes stand in West Windsor’s farmers’ market three years ago. The Princeton location followed last season.

The “jammin” moniker comes from the jams put into the crepes, homemade from local produce. One of the partners’ signature crepes is made with local Cherry Grove Farm brie cheese, homemade strawberry/lavender jam, and bacon from a smokehouse in Bucks County. “We go there every other week to get bacon and ham,” Ms. Rizk says. “The sandwich sounds weird, but it’s a great combination and it’s very popular.”

The new restaurant will have seating for approximately 35 customers and serve eat-in and take-out food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The menu will change seasonally and accommodate various dietary concerns. The partners have been joined by Ms. Rizk’s husband, marketing executive Amin Rizk, in the venture.

“This really is about the local ingredients. We’re not people just jumping on the farm-to-table bandwagon and using it as a marketing thing,” Ms. Rizk says. “The idea came from our work supporting the local farmers’ markets and farms, and that’s our reason for being.”


The Princeton Board of Education and the school community gathered in the Learning Commons of the John Witherspoon Middle School, yesterday to say farewell to Superintendent of Schools Judith A. Wilson.

The event was described as a tribute to the “beautiful work of Ms. Wilson over many years of great dedication” and the bright new space of the JW Learning Commons was a fitting venue. Ms. Wilson looked poised as always as she greeted old friends, former students, past and current board members.

Board of Education President Tim Quinn spoke in tribute to the outgoing Superintendent who has led the district since 2005, the year in which the American Association of School Administrators named her New Jersey’s Superintendent of the Year. As he spoke, screens around the room portrayed student achievements in a slide show of middle schoolers performing on musical instruments, playing sports, working at their computers, and showing off awards certificates. It was a time for hugs, laughter, plans to get together for post-retirement lunches, and a few tears, too.

In March, Ms. Wilson announced her intention to retire on the last day of this year. Her retirement brings to a close a distinguished 35-year career in public education during which she served as an English teacher, reading specialist, curriculum supervisor, assistant superintendent, and superintendent.

“During Judy’s time here, an already well-regarded district became even better,” said Board of Education leader Tim Quinn of a period in which Princeton adopted a standards-based curriculum for pre-K through grade 12 that is implemented among all schools and at all grade levels. Ms. Wilson led a district-wide effort to increase student achievement overall while narrowing gaps between students, particularly among economically disadvantaged students. She initiated a system to monitor individual student achievement through regular formative assessments and expanded professional learning opportunities for teachers and administrators.

“The Princeton Public School district is a very special community of leaders and learners in all positions: volunteers, teachers, support staff, administrators, parents, and especially students,” Ms. Wilson wrote in her letter announcing her retirement to the Board of Education. “My life has been influenced in many positive ways and my thinking and learning have been strengthened by the work of leading this complex, dynamic, and successful district. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to have worked with so many exceptional board members, educators, and staff members over the years.”

In a profile interview for this newspaper (Town Topics, April 11, 2007), Ms. Wilson described the Princeton school district as: “a very vibrant living organization that ties together everyone across the community. When I think of community, within the schools or in the wider context, much of it is about relationships and connections and understanding what it means to be a living organization, not just an institution.”

Ms. Wilson began her career with a Bachelor of Science in English and Education from West Virginia Wesleyan College, followed by a Master of Arts cum laude in Reading Education and then doctoral studies in Language and Linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania. Her classroom teaching began in Camden County, in middle school English. She was assistant superintendent in the Southern Regional School District in Manahawkin from 1987 to 1995, and then spent a decade as superintendent of the Woodbury School District.

When she joined Princeton Regional Schools, she said that the size of the district was a draw: small enough for her to get to know her staff and students. Ms. Wilson said that she approached each day by expecting the unexpected. “School days are often unpredictable and each day has to be approached with openness and the expectation that something new, or different, or a problematic event will arise. If your mind is not open to that as part of the reality of the day, then I think it must bring a lot of unnecessary frustration, angst, or negative emotion. I have to go into every day knowing that not only will there be lot of work to do and challenges to meet but that probably before the end of the day there will be something that I didn’t expect, perhaps something emergent or even urgent that I have to deal with.”

“I work with an incredible team of support staff, faculty, and administrators. The joy of the work is being able to tap their talents and build the capacity to direct people’s energy and ideas so that it reaches our students. This is an explosive time for research and we are educating children for the 21st century to be global learners and global citizens.”

As a child, Ms. Wilson was fascinated by libraries, books, and reading. In high school, she worked part-time in the public library after school and on weekends. When she first declared a major in college, it was in library science and she holds a New Jersey Media Specialist certificate that she has never put into practice. On her first day at work in Princeton, she went to the Princeton Public Library to get her library card and it’s to the library that she admits to slipping away to once in a while, to the café and to browse the new titles. In retirement, she said, she may well undertake some volunteer activity involving libraries.

In that 2007 interview, Ms. Wilson confessed to one weakness: a passion for dark chocolate. There were plenty of chocolate chocolate chip cookies on hand yesterday.

Ms. Wilson’s replacement, Stephen Cochrane begins his tenure January 1, 2014.


This December 25 thousands are expected to gather on both sides of the Delaware River to watch the reenactment of George Washington’s daring 1776 river crossing.

Police Lieutenant John Godzieba of Langhorne, Pa. will channel the famed general as he delivers an address to some two hundred re-enactors in Continental military garb.

After the general’s speech, weather permitting, Mr. Godzieba as Washington will be rowed across the river with his men in three replica Durham boats and a small river boat.

This will be Mr. Godzieba’s fifth year in the role. At 6’4”, he looks made for the part. “I get that a lot,” he said. “Washington was 6’3” and people tell me that I really look like him, although some wonder why I don’t have white hair. What they don’t realize is that when he crossed the Delaware, Washington was 45 years old and his hair was reddish brown.”

In his role as General Washington, Mr. Godzieba has learned much about the man he portrays. “I’ve digested a lot of biographies and know a great deal about 18th century warfare. Perhaps being a re-enactor for 22 years helps, but I have the sense that he ruled by consent, listening to his officers,” said the police lieutenant. “I like to think I share some of his qualities: he’s a little bit self-conscious, doesn’t like speaking in public, and likes to look his best. Also, he loved his farm as you can tell from the letters he wrote back home to his nephew. I think he was a homebody at heart, moved by a deep sense of duty to his country.”

The reenactment celebrates the historic action in the winter of 1776 during the War of Independence. The crossing and subsequent battles at Trenton and Princeton are reputed to have turned the tide in the affairs of the patriots fighting for independence against colonial rule.

The Continental Army had experienced nothing but defeat and were a pretty ragged and downcast bunch. The campaign in New York had not gone well. The Battle of Long Island had been lost and the army forced to retreat across New Jersey to Pennsylvania. Soldiers lacked food and warm clothing; enlistments were expiring and desertion was rife.

A victory was desperately needed when Washington devised his bold plan to cross the Delaware under the cover of darkness and attack the British garrison at Trenton, about 10 miles downstream and manned by some 1500 Hessian soldiers. On December 25, 1776, 2400 men made the crossing, beginning in the late afternoon after the sun had set. Candle-lit lanterns provided little light. According to letters and diary accounts, the weather was bleak; rain had turned to sleet and snow. The river is believed to have been in flood at the time, and the crossing was dangerous.

The Americans were ferried by fishermen from Marblehead led by Colonel John Glover. The bad weather prevented two supporting divisions led by Generals Cadwalader and Ewing from making a similar crossing further downstream, so Washington had to go it alone. In spite of the lack of support, Washington’s unexpected attack resulted in the surrender of the Hessian force within an hour. The success gave the patriots new hope.

Mr. Godzieba has gathered a wealth of information about Washington’s life and interests, from details about his famous dentures to his passion for dogs. “When I first started out, I was invited to participate in a fundraising dinner where the host’s two young children were Washington aficionados. They knew everything and asked all sorts of questions that I couldn’t answer, like what was the name of Washington’s dog. I decided I’d never be caught out like that again,” said Mr. Godzieba, who rattles of the names of the General’s dogs: True Love, Tippler, and Sweet Lips, among others.

As for this year’s crossing on December 25, Mr. Godzieba expects success. “With all the snow we’re getting in the Delaware Watershed up in New York state, the water level should have risen enough for us to get over to New Jersey.”

The 61st Annual Christmas Crossing of the Delaware will take place from 1 to 3 p.m. on December 25 at Washington Crossing Historic Park, 1112 River Road, Washington Crossing. Starting around 1 p.m., actors in period costume will set out from the McConkey’s Ferry section of the Washington Crossing Historic Park on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River. Founded in 1917, the Washington Crossing Historic Park has been designated a National Historic Landmark. Admission is free and the event can be observed from the Jersey side of the river. For more information, call (215) 493-4076, or visit www.ushistory.org/washingtoncrossing.


When Small World Coffee opened its doors in Princeton on December 22, 1993, independent coffee houses were just beginning to pop up on the East coast. Founders and co-owners, Jessica Durrie and Brant Cosaboom, selected Princeton for their business venture after a year-long search of college towns throughout the United States.

Small World was their first coffee shop, although Ms. Durrie had earlier opened a cafЋ for another company in Santa Cruz in California. They found that Princeton had most of the “markers” they were looking for. “It has a world class University in the center of town; it has a walking downtown with a great mix of retail and residential and the demographics of the community were near perfect,” said Ms. Durrie. Although they thought that the town might be a little bit too small, its proximity to Manhattan and Philadelphia “meant there would always be an interesting throughput of people and events.” At that time, too, there was no competition. “Besides Princeton looked and felt like a community we could call home,” she said. “All of these attributes added up to a very appealing option for us.”

The town has fulfilled their expectations. “It took a while for us to get used to Princeton, but I have to say, it is now home. Twenty years of relationship-building create a very strong and meaningful foundation in business and life. The town has been good to us, and we are very thankful for that.”

To celebrate its 20th anniversary, the popular Witherspoon Street café plans some fun festivities this Sunday, December 22. The celebration is designed to express Small World Coffee’s thanks to its loyal customers.

The Princeton High School String Quartet will perform from 8 to 10 a.m. while customers sip their morning coffee and read the Sunday newspapers. In the evening from 7 to 9 p.m., an “Anniversary Celebration Party” will feature live music from Chris Harford and the Band of Changes. The Nomad Pizza Truck will stop by and there will be mementos to mark the occasion, including the original Small World recipe anniversary coffee blend, whimsical mugs, and anniversary t-shirts.

Although Small World Coffee has grown over the years, it still retains its close-knit community feel. The company motto is “dream big, build small,” and the philosophy has stood them in good stead. The company’s first growth move was in 1995 when they opened their sister company, a coffee roasting business, Small World Roasters, with longtime friend and employee, Jonathan March.

In 2001, Small World Coffee at 14 Witherspoon Street expanded its footprint when it took over the space of the neighboring print shop when it went out of business.

In 2006 a second location was added on the north end of town next to the Nassau Street Seafood Company. This café houses the Small World kitchen and is primarily take-out, although it has ample out-door seating shared with the Blue Point Grill and Nassau Street Seafood.

Like Small World Coffee on Witherspoon, the Nassau satellite has become a neighborhood venue, especially for breakfast prepared short order with items such as the “Pile Driver” breakfast sandwich, the “Gringo Breakfast Burrito,” and the “Loxed and Loaded Bagel Sandwich.”

The secret of success, according to Ms. Durrie, is never to become complacent: “We always pay attention to the quality of our coffee and menu. Brant and Jon, my two business partners in the roasting end of our operation, are fanatical about the quality of our beans and roasting; they roast all of the coffee we sell. We pay attention to the quality, kindness, and attentiveness of our staff, the desires of our customers, and have tried to make the choices that have allowed us to remain in business for 20 years. We have certainly made mistakes along the way, but I feel like we have had the courage to correct them as they arise. Also our success, on an intangible level, has had to do with our authentic desire for connection, with our staff and our customers. Paying attention to the culture of our company and hiring the right people has allowed us to deliver a consistent approach to our customers.”

Besides its freshly roasted and artisanal coffees, small batch food and beverages created in its kitchen, Small World has become known for hosting visual art shows by local artists and performances by local musicians.

The interwoven effect of coffee, food, art and music has cultivated long lasting community affection for this local hangout.

For more information, call (609) 924-4377, or visit: www.smallworldcoffee.com.



Members of the Princeton High School Women’s Choir singing songs of the season in front of Landau’s, with Nassau Hall in the background. Meanwhile another group from the choir was singing on Palmer Square. (Photo by Emily Reeves)


December 11, 2013
GHANDI IN THE ALLEY: The likes of this 2008 mural by the graffiti writer known as "Kasso" are the subject of an exhibition of photogrpahs by Ricardo Barros on view at Trenton's Gallery 219. (Courtesy of Ricardo Barros)

GHANDI IN THE ALLEY: The likes of this 2008 mural by the graffiti writer known as “Kasso” are the subject of an exhibition of photogrpahs by Ricardo Barros on view at Trenton’s Gallery 219. (Courtesy of Ricardo Barros)

A new exhibition of 36 photographs by Princeton photographer Richard Barros opens with a gallery reception this Friday, December 13, from 6 to 9 p.m. at Gallery 219, in Trenton.

The exhibition, “ART HAMMER: Shaping Society Through Writing Culture,” after Berthold Brecht’s remark “Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it,” is the culmination of a seven year project in which Mr. Barros followed a crew of graffiti writers up and down the Mid-Atlantic States, recording his impressions in stories and pictures.

“Most often I was not permitted to photograph the writers’ faces, but that was okay because I wasn’t trying to make portraits,” said Mr. Barros. “My overarching goal was to make photographs revealing the nature of [graffiti] writing culture from the inside looking out.”

The project began shortly after Mr. Barros had finished another of similar length that resulted in his book Facing Sculpture: A Portfolio of Portraits, Sculpture and Related Ideas. The photographer was looking around for something completely different and came to graffiti with fresh eyes.

Famed graffiti photographer Jon Naar had a hand, albeit coincidentally, in Mr. Barros’s choice of subject. It was while attending one of Mr. Naar’s artists salons that he met Trenton graffiti writers Leon Rainbow and Will “Kasso” Condry. “Leon was the first to open my eyes. I thought I knew about art, but in speaking with Leon I realized I knew nothing about graffiti. There are rules about where and when graffiti writers can write; they may write anonymously but they intensely crave fame, and they routinely destroy their own work.”

Captivated by their colorful murals and vibrant letter forms, Mr. Barros sought to gain access to their society but found the community too secretive. “In many cases, even the writers themselves know one another only by their pseudonyms,” he said. But he persisted and, in 1996, began his journey.

“Their work is amazing,” he said, “but the stories that go along with them are more amazing still.” Adjacent to Gallery 219 is a garden that took shape on an abandoned lot soon after Kasso had finished a mural of the famed pacifist Mahatma Ghandi. Across the street, visitors can take in “Windows of Soul,” for which Kasso and his SAGE Coalition beautified boarded up windows with a particularly literal take on street art.

Kasso is the director of Gallery 219, and his work is included in many of the Barros photographs. “Kasso was very clear that he wanted to work through graffiti to address a larger agenda. I was with him, in Trenton, as he put up one wall after another, many without permission, all conveying an uplifting message,” said Mr. Barros, who was born in Brazil in 1953 and came with his family to the United State at age 7. He’s lived in Princeton since 1990. A self-taught photographer since he received his first camera at around 12, he now teaches workshops for the Princeton Photography Club.

His photographs thus capture much more than graffiti writers and their work, they offer a glimpse of the writers’ society, an insider perspective on writing culture.

The photographer encourages exhibition visitors not only to view the photographs but to interact with the “graffiti writers” they will meet there. “Kasso may not be in all of the pictures but he is intimately familiar with virtually every one. So ask him and enjoy his stories,” he urged.

Eye Opening Experience

Getting to know the world of graffiti writers was an eye-opening experience that changed not only Mr. Barros’s perspective on his own work but on life too. “Graffiti writers will put up a piece of work with no expectation that it will last. In contrast a key concept in fine art photography is “archival,” but an undue emphasis on longevity can be destructive to producing work that is creative and insightful,” he said.

“When I began, I knew virtually nothing about graffiti writers; my biases were rather malevolent. I imagined them to be loners, malcontents, and destructive. What I discovered was very different. I found a close-knit community with strong relationships. The structure of social interaction and the rules of the community were different from what I was used to. Instead of simple majority rule, decisions are consensus-driven. If anyone wants to join a crew, there has to be unanimous consensus. At the start of a project, a crew will confer as to subject, style, and color palette. They work in a very dynamic way, looking over their shoulders at what is being done and perhaps modifying their part of the work in the light of another crew member.”

“I had thought that most graffiti writers were minorities from urban centers and while some fit that stereotype there are many who don’t: suburban white kids and young girls; graffiti crosses race, gender, and economic divides. One guy was completing his PhD dissertation at an Ivy League school, one was a second grade teacher, another was a corrections officer. All shared a commitment to what they were doing. And they all had something to say.” Some make a living by painting commissioned murals but most have “day” jobs as graphic designers, tattooists, teachers, and car mechanics.

He discovered, too, that the accepted term is not “graffiti artist” but “graffiti writer” or simply “writer.” As he explained: graffiti writers choose to remain outsiders, both to mainstream culture and to the art world. “The art establishment invited graffiti writers to bask in the light of appreciation by referring to them as ‘graffiti artists.’ But the word “graffiti” is foreign to their culture; its meaning is unclear; and the most prominent graffiti artists anointed by the art establishment such as Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat are not part of this culture.”

Although he declined to select a favorite from among his photographs, he singled out one of Cornel West taken on assignment from Princeton University. Knowing that the writer Luv had painted the Princeton University professor as part of a large mural by Kasso, Mr. Barros photographed Mr. West in front of his likeness and brought the professor into contact with the writer who had portrayed him out of respect for his work and what he represents.

The images are framed and for sale (to see them online, visit: http://ricardobar
rosftp.com/Art_Hammer/. While prints by Mr. Barros normally go for around $1,000, because of the nature of this show and in the spirit of the writing community, Mr. Barros feels that it isn’t appropriate to charge his usual prices. Images in the exhibition will be priced at $300 and the money will be shared between the photographer and the gallery.

Mr. Barros’s work is in 11 museum collections. For more, visit: www.ricardobarros.com.

“ART HAMMER: Shaping Society Through Writing Culture” is at Gallery 219, 219 East Hanover Street, Trenton, N.J. 08608, through January 10, 2014. Hours are flexible; confirm at (609) 222-9334. The opening reception is preceded by a guided tour and conversation with the graffiti writers, at 4:30 p.m.; an exhibition previewed from 5 to 6 p.m.; music begins at 6 p.m.


Patrols, Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad, Princeton Fire Dept. and Kingston Fire Dept. responded to Lake Carnegie near Dodds Lane on Princeton-Kingston Rd. on Tuesday at 11:30 a.m,  after the report of a boat that was stuck on the dam at that location, with three boaters in distress. Upon arrival, rescue measures were undertaken and the three persons aboard the vessel were led to safety and the boat was recovered. There were no injuries as a result of the incident. The initial investigation into the report revealed that the craft experienced steering failure while navigating on the lake, and the current then caused the boat to drift to the dam where it came to rest. The men were contractors installing aeration devices to keep the lake from freezing at the dam. The investigating officer was Ptl. Bill Kieffer IV.


For the sixth year, Barbour is partnering with One Warm Coat to host its annual coat drive to benefit the communities surrounding Barbour’s retail locations. To give back this holiday season, the company has committed to donate a sweater or shirt for every coat turned in at a Barbour retail store through December 31.

The Princeton Barbour store is at 67 Palmer Square West. Any worn coat in wearable condition for men and women will be accepted and donated to Catholic Charities.

Looking for a way to extend their contribution, Barbour chose to pledge a sweater or shirt to make a deeper impact on the local charities. In past years, Barbour has offered a discount off a new jacket for those who donated a coat at a Barbour store.

“Our commitment to match every coat donation with a Barbour shirt or sweater turns the focus back on the true meaning of this program and that is to give back to those in our neighborhoods and communities in need of assistance during this holiday season.” said Christopher Sapienza, Head of Barbour Retail, North America. “We hope our customers will help us meet our goal of collecting 1,500 coats at Barbour retail stores to trigger a donation of 1,500 shirts or sweaters to our charity partners.”